Search Results

Boys and Bruises

August 2, 2012

Boys and Bruises, climbing a palm tree | MothersCircle.netI remember a time when Michael was little and always had a bruise, or two, or three somewhere on his shins, his forehead, his knees. Some of them had hurt, others just seemed to appear. His bruises were badges of his explorations and were part of the process of him learning about his body in space.

A social worker friend once told me that a sign of abuse is a person having bruises in all stages of healing, but that described my non-abused, well-loved little boy and he had made the bruises all on his own. He was 100% rough and tumble boy from his earliest days.

He bumped into tables when he learned to walk and got bruised. He tipped back in a chair at dinner as a toddler and got bruised. He balanced himself to go up the slide backwards and he learned. Experimenting with body mechanics and spacial relations is all part of growing up, and for many boys, it seems they do it with more energy, more gusto and more brute force than girls (though girls get their fair share of bruises, too!).

Think Spring!

March 30, 2015

Think Spring! Activities and tips | MothersCircle.netAs much as I love snow days, I’m happy to see the mountains melting. I’m ready to think spring and am enjoying the hints of buds and other harbingers of spring.

Here’s a wrap of of some spring season posts to help you think spring!

How to force forsythia – Bring some spring inside with these yellow blooming branches!

Creative ways to dye Easter eggs – This is our Good Friday tradition. What fun Easter egg traditions does your family do?

Should You Let Your Kids Watch Scary Movies?

October 30, 2013

Many thanks to Kate Oliver of www.help4yourfamily.com for this guest post on scary movies and gauging your child’s developmental readiness for viewing them.

By Kate Oliver, MSW, LCSW-C

scary tv shows, kids and scary movies, kid with bowl of popcorn, what age is it ok for kids to watch scary movies, when can kids see scary moviesIn my house, Halloween is second only to Christmas. My children are still at an age where they want to dress up and trick or treat. They are eight and ten and they love to get a little bit scared sometimes as well. It is all part of the Halloween fun. Many holidays have special movies attached to them as well. Unlike Christmas, with, tales of Santa Claus and reindeer, and Easter, where we learn about a sweet bunny that brings treats, Halloween has movies of a different sort.

Sure there is Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin, but then there are the other movies…the scary movies.
In my work as a child therapist one issue I help kids overcome is sleep problems including nightmares. It is interesting to me that many times when children have nightmares, they are linked to watching scary movies, or even just the news. During this season of scary movies, let’s be especially mindful of the impact of what we decide to let our children watch.

teens and movies, teen nightmares, TV and teens, teens eating popcorn, boy in striped shirtI am certain my husband and I are not the only ones who have thought back to a movie we watched as kids, looked it up on Netflix and excitedly introduced it to our children only to be surprised at just how many four letter words were in say, ET and The Karate Kid. I certainly do not remember, as a kid, taking note of the language that was flying through those movies. I think many times when parents watch a scary movie with their children; they do so because they remember that excited and scared feeling they had watching the same movie.

Trading in the Mini-Van

October 9, 2013

trading in the mini van, not wanting mini van, why get a mini van, upgrading from mini van, good bye to mini van, gold mini van, tire treads, I swore I’d never drive a mini-van.

Then, almost thirteen years ago, with a growing family, we shopped around and, without wanting to, I loved the Honda Odyssey. It was the first mini-van to have the third seat that folded INTO the car so it laid flat. We’ve used that feature for furniture, bulky shrubs and lugging stuff from Home Depot more times that we can count. The entire contents of my trunk have spewed all over a parking lot on numerous occasions as I reconfigured the car to fit a new patio set or the tag sale treasure I couldn’t pass by!

But now it is time and I’m trading in the mini-van.

Our gold Odyssey has driven us the equivalent of around the world – FOUR TIMES! Yup, 204,089 miles to visit grandparents, take vacations and camping trips, attend far away weddings and to make 1,492,648,112,951 trips to the grocery store. She’s welcomed two babies, endured coffee spills, melted crayons, throw up and seasons upon seasons of winter salts and summer sands. Her cup holders and Michael’s “secret compartment” have collected countless treasures like acorns, seashells, rocks, candy wrappers, food bits, and handfuls of the green Stop & Shop twistie ties.

It’s hard not to feel a little nostalgic as we part ways. I’ve never been much of a car person, sure I like a nice car, but mostly I care if it’s functional and safe and doesn’t cause me problems. But it’s time to let this golden capsule go. She’s car mileage, over 200000 miles on car, odometer reading over 200000, high odometer reading, gold honda odysseyserved us well.

We’ve long ago lost the knob cover for the bass on the radio, I have to fiddle with the temperature knob in just the right way to make the kids get heat or AC in the back, and the thingy on my seat belt that holds up the metal latch is gone. You have no idea how important that silly nodule is until you have to dig between the seat and the door to find the buckle 32 times a day! Yup – I’m trading in the mini-van.

Memories match the marks. There’s the white smudge on the ceiling from the sheet rock when we redid our basement playroom, there’s the stain from my Dad’s spilled coffee mug when we were house hunting in Rhode Island, and there are still a few pine needles from the year we stuck the tree in the car instead of on the roof. There’s the small scratch from Michael’s scooter riding a little too close to the driver’s door, and there’s the gash on the back bumper from that snow-covered, too-low-to-see-in-the-dark rock – oops!

We have a “system” we are used to in this family car. We have the hand sanitizer in a specific pocket that we all can reach, there are hair brushes and pencils, workbooks and song lyric books, How to Learn French read-alongs and enough Lego’s hidden all over to build another car. We know who sits where, even when we fit grandmas and grandpas in with us. Without looking I can reach a napkin, a CD, or toss a kid a snack.

This car has listened to singing, lot’s of singing. From lovely notes and off key sounds, to shout-it-out singing, rock-and-roll singing and singing you may not call singing. (I think we may have the very last car running that still has a cassette player. How will I play those mixed tapes from high schgold honda odyssey, old odyssey, trading in odyssey, good bye to old car, kids saying good bye to car, missing old car, ool now?) This car has heard peals of laughter, endless joking and moments of screaming and ranting. She’s heard soft spoken adult talks, heart-to-heart teen talks, unguarded secrets spilling and endless toddler tales.

Being a Mom is Messy

August 22, 2013

Being a Mom is messy. It’s messy in a multi-dimensional, chest-deep, figurative, literal kind of way from pregnancy right on past the teen years. From up-the-back poopy diapers to teenage heartache, Moms are in the thick of it start to finish. Motherhood: A Messy Gig. Here, Mom, hold this … dried up cricket, handful of […]

Boob Milk is Best

August 2, 2013

boob milk is best, national breastfeeding week, august breastfeeding week, world breastfeeding weekIn support of World Breastfeeding Week, I’m re-posting a favorite breastfeeding story.

Sitting at the dinner table, our youngest, Anna, asked me why she’s the only one without allergies, and the first answer (as a doula and lactation counselor) was, “Because I nursed you for two years.” “Huh?” she asked.

So I dove right in, “That’s what boobs are for,” she giggled, “for feeding babies. Cow milk is for calves, goat milk is for baby goats and human milk is for …” I paused to let her answer, “Human babies!” Her eyes twinkled, and at her age of increasing modesty and bodily awareness, she giggled and challenged, “Boys have boobs… and pecks.” I responded, “They have nipples, too, but can’t feed a baby.” The word nipples was also met with a chuckle.

We’ve talked about breastfeeding before many times, as a toddler she used to put her dolls to her breast routinely and if she ever used a play bottle, she’d tell me it had breastmilk in it. This discussion reminded me that in parenting, things need to be repeated and not just the pick-up-your-towel repeated, but relearned in new, age-adjusted ways. She was revisiting this topic with some more life experience under her teeny belt.
sleeping baby, baby sleeping on mom's chest, mom and baby sleeping, flavors of breastmilk, tasting breastmilk, milk supply, fenugreek and nursingShe was fascinated as I explained that breastmilk changes it’s flavor and content from day to day, feeding to feeding, during the same meal, and year to year. Your body even knows if the baby is a boy or a girl (Moms nursing boys produce milk that is higher in fat content). Breastmilk is the perfect food for human babies and as we chatted, it just popped out: “Boob Milk is Best!” She completely cracked up. I joined in and we were laughing as Anna repeated, “Boob Milk!”

What is littleBits?

July 25, 2013

what is littleBits, littleBits starter kit, building with electronics modules, electronics for kids, better than legos, if you like legos you'll love littlebits, littlebits color codeWhat is littleBits? Now that I know the answer, littleBits are guaranteed to be wrapped up for birthday gifts and under our tree for many Christmases to come. With the discount code for Mother’s Circle readers below, you can give the gift of imagination, too!

Move over, Legos, here comes littleBits!

littleBits makes building with electronics and prototyping for budding engineers completely accessible and fun (ages 8 and up.)

We always call our son Michael “the engineer” because he is incredibly resourceful, creative in mechanical and inventive ways, and endlessly curious about how things work. He’s always figuring things out, fixing things and solving functional problems around the house. His eyes lit up when he opened the littleBits box!

Michael has always loved all things building from Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys to erector sets, magnetics and bristle blocks, but I think as much as we’ve loved and been buried by Legos in our house, this could replace them! Or perhaps we’ll see Legos make their way into a littleBits creation.

As a blogger, I am bombarded by people asking for me to review items or to pitch their thing on my blog. I only agree to something that I really love and feel genuinely good about recommending to my readers and I am so excited to share this with you. My whole family (and the neighbors) are happy that we’ve “discovered” it! Watch this video and you’ll be hooked, too.

Leadership Skills for Moms Part 2

April 25, 2013

walking in woods, walking under branches, kids hiking, kids in woods, brother and sister getting along, siblings on walk, leadership skills for moms, leadership tips, parenting tips for teens, In Leadership Skills for Moms part one, I applied the principles from Kouzes and Posner’s book, The Leadership Challenge to motherhood. As Moms, we certainly hold many leadership roles, whether we acknowledge that label or not, we ARE leaders.

Where are your leadership strengths? How do you want to grow as a leader? What’s one thing you can do today to take a step to become the Mom Leader you envision?

Based on their research, Kouzes and Posner defined five practices of exemplary leadership:

1. Model the way
2. Inspire a shared vision
3. Challenge the process
4. Enable others to act
5. Encourage the heart.

In Leadership Skills for Moms part one, I discussed model the way, inspire a shared vision and challenge the process. Here, let’s talk about the last two principles, enabling others to act and encourage the heart.

Using These Leadership Skills for Moms

Enable Others to Act

How do you get a 3 year old to put on his shoes so you can get out the door? How do you get a 7 year old to pick up his Lego’s? Get a 12 year old to clean her bedroom? A 15 year old to do his homework independently?

What Do Your Kids Want to Be When They Grow Up?

March 27, 2013

STEM careers, kids strengths, when I grow up, I want to be, career choicesIn this week’s Mom Before Mom post, I wrote about what I wanted to be when I grew up it made me think about what my kids say now that they want to be. For some kids, they set their minds on something and never waiver. For other kids, the ideas change weekly, their interests broad and open.

Michael just today came home and announced, “Mom, do you want to hear what I want to do when I grow up?” I was stunned and thought, “Be a psychic?” He had no idea what I was writing about! This most recent idea, though, was more of an event plan than a career path, he wants to climb Mount Everest and glide off the top. (Ugh, see my Boys and Bruises post!)

What do your kids want to be when they grow up? How do we nurture the things that make them happy? How, as parents, can we encourage them to explore and guide them to discover their strengths?

It begins young with exposure to many different experiences. Going for a walk and taking the time to stop and touch some moss or poke a mushroom with a stick is a beginning. So are things like kicking the ball in the backyard, marching through the house with musical instruments or early forays into watercolor still-lifes and Play-Doh sculptures. These are valuable activities at all ages.

Offering varied opportunities isn’t generally the hard part, there are a million and one possibilities, activities, teams, clubs, events and chances to try things out. It’s harder to know how to limit what our kids join, as in all things parenting, it’s about finding that balance.

In the adolescent years, kids tend to begin to specialize in certain activities, they’ve narrowed down their sports and extracurricular time to more focused interests. Those activities may not be what they would pursue as a life path. Or could they be?

Boob Milk is Best

December 13, 2012

breastfeeding baby, benefits of breastfeeding, children asking about breastfeeding, siblings breastfeeding, cute baby face, baby hand on faceSitting at the dinner table, my youngest, Anna, asked me why she’s the only one without allergies, and the first answer (as a doula and lactation counselor) was, “Because I nursed you for two years.” “Huh?” she asked.

So I dove right in, “That’s what boobs are for,” she giggled, “for feeding babies. Cow milk is for calves, goat milk is for baby goats and human milk is for …” I paused to let her answer, “Human babies!” Her eyes twinkled, and at her age of increasing modesty and bodily awareness, she giggled and challenged, “Boys have boobs… and pecks.” I responded, “They have nipples, too, but can’t feed a baby.” The word nipples was also met with a chuckle.

We’ve talked about breastfeeding before many times, as a toddler she used to put her dolls to her breast routinely and if she ever used a play bottle, she’d tell me it had breastmilk in it. This discussion reminded me that in parenting, things need to be repeated and not just the pick-up-your-towel repeated, but relearned in new, age-adjusted ways. She was revisiting this topic with some more life experience under her teeny belt.

For a Happy Halloween – Save the Scary Movies

October 22, 2012

Many thanks to Kate Oliver of www.help4yourfamily.com for this guest post on scary movies and gauging your child’s developmental readiness for viewing them. By Kate Oliver, MSW, LCSW-C In my house, Halloween is second only to Christmas. My children are still at an age where they want to dress up and trick or treat. They […]

I Live You

July 16, 2012
[caption id="attachment_340" align="alignleft" width="250"]Family love I Live You![/caption]

We’re a family who uses the words, “I love you” very generously. We’re affectionate, we kiss, we hug, we snuggle and we say, write, text, email “I love you” all the time. For the last few months, either from my fingers or my autocorrect, whenever I try to type “I love you” somehow, it’s coming out “I live you.” I thought about that, and actually, that’s true, too!

At first it was a joke, my daughter and husband would text me back, “I live you, too,” but now they know that “I love you and I live you!” I realized that there are so many ways we live the ones we love.

We live them in their daily habits, in their nuances of behavior, the way they tilt their head, puzzle their eyebrows or jiggle in laughter. We know our loved ones intimately and we barely recognize how much we know their familiar responses, their subtle mannerisms, and how we feel their presence, or absence, in a space.

Memory Scars

July 2, 2012

horseshoe crab, creating with horseshoe crab, creative bucket, homemade basket, boy on beach, blue shirt, carrying shells, beach treasuresScar. The word feels negative, ugly, damaged, but our scars tell stories of our lives, they mark our bodies with visible memories. The life events that engraved themselves upon us in scars are not usually positive and pretty, they can represent deep pain and profound endurance, but they can also remind us of our gifts, our strengths and our humanity.

Growing up, we tritely feel and behave as if we’re indestructible, but as children, our scars teach us about our bodies in space: how high can we climb, when to release on a rope swing, the importance of knee pads. I have two skid marks 20 years after my first attempt at rollerblading. (Lessons: don’t wear roller blades 3 sizes too big and don’t ride through the sandy spots.)

My perfect little boy’s face has a small stripe across the bridge of his nose. In a creative spurt, I made a scavenger hunt for my daughter and son (then six and four) and while searching for a bug, they discovered a hidden shovel that a contractor had left behind. As I turned to look, I saw my daughter try to maneuver the too-big shovel, slip it off the hard ground and strike my son’s face as he leaned over inquisitively. (Lesson: hmmm, move fast if you see a small kid with a big shovel.) Michael’s nose scar is a part of him now, it’s more subtle as the years pass, but sometimes we remember the day when “Ali hit me with a shovel.”

cupcakes, blue and yellow cupcakes, flower cupcakes, flower baking, beautiful cupcakes

Children’s Tough Questions

May 23, 2012

tough questions from kids, questions kids ask, how to answer kids questionsEver been stumped by your child’s tough question? Yeah, me too!
Children are naturally inquisitive and down and dirty scientists. My son has explored critters under stones, built himself a zip line between two trees (it really works after multiple variations and attempts) and even sleuthed out what kind of animal skull he found in the woods. A question lurks and a kid asks it, there’s no editing or second guessing like an adult might do.

I remember as a kid, I was impressed that whenever I was at my friend Bene’s, house, if a question or disagreement arose, the family went to the set of encyclopedias and immediately sought the answers. I loved that it didn’t float out there unanswered, I loved that we could hope to satisfy that curiosity. Kids want to know.

Today, the internet provides us an even greater tool to help give our children the accurate answers they crave immediately. As parents, we get to read and learn something new ourselves and then help to break it down and explain it to our children at an age-appropriate level. An inquiry by a kindergartener can be answered with pictures and simpler phrasing while a teen’s question can become an in-depth discussion or the spark for their next school project.

p-_j53ayb9sRH9s